Spain's tourist numbers up a record 12 percent in first half

FILE- In this Thursday, May 26, 2016 file photo, tourists take pictures in front of Sagrada Familia church, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain. Spain continues to break tourism records, with the number of tourists visiting the country up 12 percent in the first six months of the year. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
FILE- In this Wednesday, May 25, 2016 file photo, people sunbathe at the Barceloneta beach in Barcelona, Spain. Spain continues to break tourism records, with the number of tourists visiting the country up 12 percent in the first six months of the year. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

MADRID — Spain keeps on breaking tourism records, with the number of tourists visiting the European Union nation up 12 percent in the first six months of the year.

Spain has broken its own tourist number records each year for the past four years as economic and security concerns elsewhere lure visitors away from rival Mediterranean destinations.

The National Statistics Institute said Monday that 36.3 million tourists arrived January through June. Most — 8.6 million — came from Britain, an increase of 9.1 percent over the same period last year. German visitors were in second place, up 10 percent at 5.5 million.

The government said 75.3 million tourists visited Spain in 2016.

Tourism represents some 11 percent of Spain's 1.2 trillion euro ($1.41 trillion) gross domestic product.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that the Spanish GDP is 1.2 trillion euros, not 1.2 billion euros.

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